Samuel F. B. Morse, His Letters and Journals eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 375 pages of information about Samuel F. B. Morse, His Letters and Journals.

“At eleven we had attained a height of at least two thousand feet and the precipices became frightful, sweeping down into long ravines to the very edge of the sea; and then the road would wind at the edge of the precipice two or three thousand feet deep.  Such scenes pass so rapidly it is impossible to make note of them.

“From the heights on which La Turbia stands, with its dilapidated walls, we see the beautiful city of Monaco, on a tongue of land extending into the sea.”

The great gambling establishment of Monte Carlo did not invade this beautiful spot until many years later, in 1856.

The travellers stopped for a few hours at Mentone,—­“a beautiful place for an artist,”—­passed the night at San Remo, and, sauntering thus leisurely along the beautiful Riviera, arrived in Genoa on the 6th of February.

[Illustration:  JEREMIAH EVARTS From a portrait painted by Morse owned by Sherman Evarts, Esq.]

CHAPTER XVI

FEBRUARY 6, 1880—­JUNE 15, 1830

Serra Palace in Genoa.—­Starts for Rome.—­Rain in the mountains.—­A brigand.—­Carrara.—­First mention of a railroad.—­Pisa.—­The leaning tower.—­Rome at last.—­Begins copying at once.—­Notebooks.—­Ceremonies at the Vatican.—­Pope Pius VIII.—­Academy of St. Luke’s.—­St Peter’s.—­ Chiesa Nuova.—­Painting at the Vatican.—­Beggar monks.—­Fata of the Annunciation.—­Soiree at Palazzo Simbaldi.—­Passion Sunday.—­Horace Vernet.—­Lying in state of a cardinal.—­Miserere at Sistine Chapel.—­ Holy Thursday at St Peter’s.—­Third cardinal dies.—­Meets Thorwaldsen at Signor Persianis’s.—­Manners of English, French, and Americans.—­Landi’s pictures.—­Funeral of a young girl.—­Trip to Tivoli, Subiaco.—­Procession of the Corpus Domini.—­Disagreeable experience.

The enthusiastic artist was now in Italy, the land of his dreams, and his notebooks are filled with short comments or longer descriptions of churches, palaces, and pictures in Genoa and in the other towns through which he passed on his way to Rome, or with pen-pictures of the wild country through which he and his fellow travellers journeyed.

In Genoa, where he stopped several days, he was delighted with the palaces and churches, and yet he found material for criticism:—­

“The next place of interest was the Serra Palace, now inhabited by one of that family, who, we understood, was insane.  After stopping a moment in the anteroom, the ceiling of which is painted in fresco by Somnio, we were ushered into the room called the most splendid in Europe, and, if carving and gilding and mirrors and chandeliers and costly colors can make a splendid room, this is certainly that room.  The chandeliers and mirrored sides are so arranged as to create the illusion that the room is of indefinite extent.  To me it appeared, on the whole, tawdry, seeing it in broad daylight.  In the evening, when the chandeliers are lighted, I have no doubt of its being a most gorgeous exhibition, but, like some showy belle dressed and painted for evening effect, the daylight turns her gold into tinsel and her bloom into rouge.

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